For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Commerce’s name is currently being misappropriated in a phishing scheme related to the Unclaimed Property Program. The emails reported to the Commerce Department use the subject line “Heritage”, and are written in Slovenian urging relatives of “Andrew Novak” or other unknown relatives to claim their inheritance. The Commerce Department is working with other government entities within Minnesota and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) to identify additional victims of this phishing scam and provide information to stop the scam. Additionally, the Department has contacted Microsoft to disable the email address referenced in the message.
Consumers need to know that the Commerce Department Unclaimed Property Program does not contact individuals to request personal information or payment to claim missing property. If you did not initiate a conversation, you should never provide personal information, including Social Security Numbers or account numbers over the telephone or internet.
If you are interested in checking to see if you or your loved ones have unclaimed property for you to claim, visit the website www.missingmoney.com or go to the Minnesota Department of Commerce website.
What should I do if I suspect I’m being phished?
If you receive an email notifying you of the death of a relative you have never heard of and recent changes in legislation enabling your ability to inherit from a first cousin making you the sole heir, you are being scammed. There are other things you can look for to determine if it is a fake notification:
The best advice for all consumers questioning the validity of an email – be very suspicious of any unsolicited email requesting personal information.
The Commerce Department recommends the following tips to consumers who receive this or other suspicious emails:
Who do I call if I have been scammed?
If you believe that you have been scammed using an internet phishing email, please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a joint partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to file a complaint.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
111 Washington Avenue South, Suite 1100
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
Toll free: 1-877-382-4357
United States Secret Service
Minneapolis Field Office
300 S. 4th St., Suite 750
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 348-1800 Fax: (612) 348-1807